College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

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mt
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by mt »

Read and understand Chapter Three in "David and Goliath" by Malcolm Gladwell.
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LiveSimple
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

Durzo wrote:I want to make a case for an "average" school consideration.

I could go on forever. I know this may not be what you and your son are looking for, but it may worth a look just to see if he has any interest in it. I was accepted and almost went to Harvey Mudd and I am sure if I would have been miserable there.

-Joey
Appreciate the note Durzo - Joey. Good to hear from a recent graduate.

I am not saying that we are not looking for average schools. I am looking for fine average schools.

What are the average schools to consider for STEM majors, that will keep him challenged, get a nice scholarship and he can progress in life.
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MnD
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by MnD »

Well here's what I did although 99% of the credit goes to my kid......

Daughter ACT 36 32 IB/AP credits 3.9-something unweighted 4.X-something weighted, top leadership roles in forensics and participation in athletics.

Accepted to 8 of 10 top schools applied for physics (rejected Stanford and wait-listed MIT). Accepted to several of the over quarter million $$ undergrad place like Harvey Mudd, Chicago, Berkley etc. We gave her a hard budget line of most expensive in-state school full ride cost from us that we would cover. She would have to garner scholarships, work, loans in her name for anything above that. Three of the 8 fell under her decided upon funding line and she decided she wanted no debt for her.

She opted for the top in-state most competitive engineering niche college.
My cost after her partial merit aid was $18K/yr for everything including living away from home experience for all 4 years.

So.....
After 4 years my total cost = $72K and zero debt for me. She garnered excellent paid internships during school year and summers and made around $30K over 4 years, of which she saved about 1/2 of that. She graduated 3.96 GPA summa cum laude, honors degree, no debt for her, two minors and a $15k net worth from internships at graduation.

Accepted to a top 5 school PhD program in her field (switched to computer science) fully funded and a great RA starting in two weeks.
Her future income is looking to be around $40k/yr in grad school with minimal expenses so should be strongly cash flow positive.
Our bank/credit accounts were completely untangled this week.
She's still on the cell phone plan as the 4th phone so costing me $10 a month. Told her she needed to work on that once she gets settled, but no hurry. :mrgreen:

At age age 22 she has in her name only checking, savings, credit card, Roth IRA, taxable brokerage, and rollover traditional IRA from former internship employer. I really try to assure her that while this is complex for her age but she's in a really good spot for having the bases covered going forward. I hope she believes me..... She does her own ETF trades no problemo when adding money so I am hopeful,,,,,,,
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by itstoomuch »

DS is the adventurous type. He only chose private schools. He has friends everywhere. Instate schools will limit your sons acquaintances to mostly to your state. YMMV.

An engineering master's is considered a terminal degree. Starting pay with a master's is equal to an BS engineer with 2-3 year's experience. An engineer with 5-8 year's experience will make more $ than a PhD engineer. Math and econ majors regardless of degree, have a tough time in finding jobs. Networking is extremely important. Writing and presentation skills are more important than technical expertise.
YMMV. GL. :beer
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by mervinj7 »

Looks like this thread has gained some really interest! I'll try to answer the questions the best I can.

Preface:
I did my undergraduate degree at Harvard in Electrical Engineering. I absolutely loved my experience there both academically and socially. I met my DW my sophomore year and we've been together ever since. The school of engineering was quite a bit smaller while I was there and I was one of only four (4) undergrads who got a S.B. (B.S.) in EE that year. Most of my upper level EE classes were between 6-10 people. My CS classes were between 20-30. For my senior year design project, I was co-advised by not one but two faculty members. Needless to say, the faculty-student ratio was in my favor. Afterwards, I worked a few years at a biotech startup in Boston before starting my PhD at UC Berkeley. Berkeley was a whole other beast. The undergrad intro EE class I was a TA for enrolled over 480 students but most of my grad classes were less than 25. I'll be finishing up my thesis shortly and joining full-time at an R&D lab in the Bay Area. DW followed a similar tract (Harvard undergrad, PhD at Stanford), just not in engineering. Can't wait to post our portfolio questions once I have access to a 401k again! :D
psteinx wrote: Thoughts:
I'm a little puzzled about college interviews in general. They seem somewhat pointless. Most of the highly selective schools that still emphasize them are down to single digit or low double digit admission rates. That means that perhaps 10-20 kids are interviewed for every one offered admission.
As far as college interviewing goes, DW and I have being volunteering with the local Silicon Valley Harvard club for the past 6 years. In that time, we have interviewed over 30 candidates. Of those, 3 were wait-listed and only 1 was accepted (admit rate for 2015 was 5.3%). Many, many more were, by any standard, truly exceptional students (near-prefect scores on their exams, 4.0+ GPAs, 8-13 AP courses, diverse extracurriculars) but competition is quite fierce in the public school districts here. Many of the students have highly educated parents who work in tech and have similarly high expectations for their kids. We love meeting the students at the various recruiting events but it's the parents who give us the most trouble!
psteinx wrote:
Now, if this was, say, a job interview, where there is pre-interview screening (based mainly on resumes), and the job interview itself is the crucial decision point for those passing the initial screen, then it would make more sense. But my understanding is that at Harvard and others like it, all applicants are encouraged to interview (including those who are deep long shots, at best), and that the weight of the interview itself, as an admissions factor, is pretty low.
Like psteinx mentioned, the AO (admissions office) offers to schedule interviews for every candidate that applies, wherever there are in the world. Cities like NYC have a surplus of alumni and often have two year waiting periods just to be allowed to interview. In the Bay Area, we are generally a bit short of interviewers and will focus on candidates ranked 3 or higher by the AO. The goal of the interview is NOT to get facts (e.g. SAT scores, list of accomplishments, rankings). Those details will all come out in the application itself. Instead, we try to get a sense of the candidate as a person and most importantly how they might fit in with their potential peers in college. The AO asks interviewers to report on "What is it like to sit and talk to the student? What are the student’s motivations or aspirations? Does the conversation flow freely? What kind of roommate will this student be?" The last one is my favorite and usually what I like to focus on.

In the end, the interviewer will write up a report with their impressions of the candidate along with specific examples and quotations from them. Strong candidates will get longer write ups. Non-competitive candidates will get shorter ones but any reservations we have should be explained. We rank students in several areas from 1+ (the highest) to 5-. All students start with 3 and move up/down from there. For example, in extracurriculars, a students who participates actively (5-10+ hours/week plus competitions) in Math Olympiad (a popular club here) will get a 3. If they have won some sort of state or regional recognition, they will get a score in the 2 range (+/-). If they make it to the national or international level, they may get a 1 (extremely rare). Most accepted students will be in the 2/2+ range. During the final round of admissions, the whole admit committee at Harvard will put the interview report on a projector while a regional "advocate" reads through the highlights of a candidate's application before a decision is made. Since I don't work on the admissions side, I can't say for certain how much weight the interview has but a good report will certainly nudge up candidates who are already competitive on paper.

Sorry if this post is too long! I'm in hardcore writing mode right now and the words just flow... I can certainly answer more questions/concerns if I missed any.
SpaceCowboy
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by SpaceCowboy »

Think you've gotten some great advice here even though it's not collegeconfidential.com, which has much more advice. Just finished with my oldest who got into an awesome elite school that was his first choice. Also got ranked at the top of a recent survey :wink: A couple of additional points:
  • Early decision/ early action represents your son's best chance of getting into his top choice college, especially if it is a reach. He needs to figure out an ED/EA strategy quickly with the first deadline of November 1st.

    If you can afford it, take advantage of Colorado College Invest's stable value plan paying 3.09%. It is basically the best fixed income deal around for someone with kids in college as that will be a tax-free interest rate.

    If you decide to hire a college counselor, I would suggest that you hire one who has sat on admissions committees and not just been a HS guidance counselor.

    Get your son out to as many colleges as possible, so that he can get a sense of the differences and what appeals to him. You're doing the right thing by being supportive and letting him make the decision.

    Don't look at this as largely a financial decision, as many on this board do. College is a multi-dimensional experience that shapes people's lives. Also everyone who went to an elite will tell you it matters and everyone who went to flagship state will swear they couldn't have done any better. I'll swear by mine too, you just have to guess which it was.
Good luck to you and your son. He sounds like a great kid and a very competitive applicant.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

[quote="rrppve"]
Don't look at this as largely a financial decision, as many on this board do. College is a multi-dimensional experience that shapes people's lives. Also everyone who went to an elite will tell you it matters and everyone who went to flagship state will swear they couldn't have done any better. I'll swear by mine too, you just have to guess which it was. [/list]

Thanks for sharing, rrppve. Yes it is not only a financial decision, it has many perspectives.
Will keep supporting DS, and see where he want to start ...
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

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MnD wrote:Well here's what I did although 99% of the credit goes to my kid......

Daughter ACT 36 32 IB/AP credits 3.9-something unweighted 4.X-something weighted, top leadership roles in forensics and participation in athletics.

Accepted to 8 of 10 top schools applied for physics (rejected Stanford and wait-listed MIT). Accepted to several of the over quarter million $$ undergrad place like Harvey Mudd, Chicago, Berkley etc. We gave her a hard budget line of most expensive in-state school full ride cost from us that we would cover. She would have to garner scholarships, work, loans in her name for anything above that. Three of the 8 fell under her decided upon funding line and she decided she wanted no debt for her.
Thanks for sharing MnD. I am sure you raised you daughter well. Wish her the best.

Will be please share the 10 schools she applied for physics. I got these..
Stanford
MIT
Harvey Mudd
Chicago
Berkley

We have the same thought process, to spend an equal amount of an elite in state school.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by TomatoTomahto »

mervinj7 wrote:In the Bay Area, we are generally a bit short of interviewers and will focus on candidates ranked 3 or higher by the AO.
First, great post!
The quoted sentence makes me wonder how much information the interviewer is given about the candidate. Do you just get their overall preliminary ranking, do you get any notes, is there any direction on what to drill down on, etc?

An area that I'm curious about for the Ivies (who by rule don't give athletic scholarships) is how/whether the interviewing of recruited athletes is different from "normal" applicants. Are they interviewed only by the coaches or do you guys also interview?
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by goodenoughinvestor »

I too interviewed applicants for an ivy league school for many years. My takeaway is that the interview does not matter much to the admissions committee--what does matter is that the student shows up for the interview because this indicates interest and therefore greater likelihood that he or she will accept an admissions offer, thus benefiting the school's yield (the measure of accepted applicants who actually enroll). The alumni interviews are really about PR--the main goal is for the interviewer to establish a rapport so he or she can reach out to the rare candidates who are accepted and encourage them to matriculate. Also these interviews are a way to keep alums connected to the university (and therefore more likely to contribute). So the takeaway on interviews for applicants is: show up, be eager and respectful, if Martians are communicating with you through your fillings keep that info to yourself, and otherwise don't worry about the interview too much.

As to the question about recruited athletes: in my experience they were always included on the list of applicants to be interviewed without an asterisk letting the interviewer know their special status. I did have one uncomfortable interview with a student who arrived late, said his favorite extra-curricular was to "hang out with friends and play video games," and said he thought school was "boring." When I said to him, "you know, this school is a pretty intellectual place so I'm wondering if you're sure it's a good fit for you" his answer was, "I'm definitely going. The football coach recruited me."
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by goodenoughinvestor »

To answer the question about what info interviewers are given....We were told: name, address, name of high school, ethnicity, expected major and interests. We were given no info on GPA, test scores or class rank and were discouraged from asking about them--not the point of the interview. At least on the east coast where there are a lot of alums the goal is to interview every applicant--no pick-and-choosing based on quality of application. Sometimes applicants would worry because a schoolmate was interviewed before they were or by a different interviewee. It's of no significance--the process is random and very much based on interviewers being volunteers who sometimes drop the ball or are just too busy to follow through.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

goodenoughinvestor wrote:My takeaway is that the interview does not matter much to the admissions committee--what does matter is that the student shows up for the interview because this indicates interest and therefore greater likelihood that he or she will accept an admissions offer, thus benefiting the school's yield (the measure of accepted applicants who actually enroll). "
Great to know.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by psteinx »

mervinj7 wrote:Sorry if this post is too long! I'm in hardcore writing mode right now and the words just flow... I can certainly answer more questions/concerns if I missed any.
Post was not at all too long (for me anyways :) ). Much appreciated - thanks for taking the time to write it and for the information you shared.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by psteinx »

When, in the high school cycle, did folks do college tours?

We have 3 kids - about to start 10th, 9th, and 5th grades. All are reasonably likely to be competitive for, and hopefully interested in, highly selective colleges.

I guess the normal/typical time for college tours is spring of 11th, or summer after 11th grade. My wife is suggesting that we should do a bit of college touring next summer. I think summer is a bad time to see colleges (few kids around). Perhaps next spring, but that's kind of a year ahead of what I perceive to be typical (i.e. would be spring of 10th grade for oldest rather than spring of 11th).

We're in the Midwest, and somewhat remote from most of the top 25-50 level colleges that our kids will probably/hopefully be aspiring to. The plus side of seeing 2-4 good colleges next spring (presumably based more on proximity than perfect fit) would be to help shape a mental framework for our kids and us parents of what a few of these colleges look like, which might help focus a bit more on colleges to investigate, tour, and apply to over the following 12-18 months.

The downside is that neither of our kids is, at the moment, college-obsessed, and they may get less value out of premature college touring, and/or react negatively ("My pushy parents are making me go look at colleges over spring break. I'm only a sophomore!")
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by downshiftme »

When, in the high school cycle, did folks do college tours?
During the school year in 11th grade is the best time to do a tour where you can see what the school is like during classes, perhaps even shadow a student and in some schools stay overnight in a dorm. Unfortunately you can only do this for a few schools (miss too much high school class time) so it's a very good idea to do come campus visits in summer BEFORE 11th grade, or even try weekdays during 10th grade. It will seem a little more remote to a 10th grader, but the advance groundwork is helpful to decide which schools to do a more intensive tour.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) (college). Since we also put career guidance in this forum, this is a "first step".
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by itstoomuch »

Don't be afraid of state schools. I have two relatives who graduated from state schools and are the experts in their field, with only a bachelors. (both later got their phds one in 2 years and another by honorarian). They really enjoy what they do.
Disclaimer: Our Only, applied only to private engineering schools. A dangerous gambit IMO.

Engineering Masters can be seen as a terminal degree. Initial earnings for a masters will be approximate a bachelors with 2-3 years experience. PhD initial earnings will approximate a masters with 4 years experience.

College visitations: At the time , early 2000s, living on the PNW, we and Only didn't have the time to travel to East Coast schools, nor the funds to make those trips. Only, made do with slow internet and printed literature. I personally think that its a waste of time. Only, thinks that visitations are valuable-I suppose now that he attended or worked at 4 universities. I will admit from his descriptions that each school has their own character but I am not sure if a HSchooler or parent can see the nuances from a 3 hour visit.

College Funding, Plan B: We showed Only his UGMA account in his junior year.enough for 4 years tuition at any school. Told him that we will find a way to fund any shortfalls. Then 9/11 happened in his hs senior year. We got lucky in that student loans' rates were cheaper than EE Bond yields and corporate dividends.

DS attended a university with a 50/50 undergrad/grad blend. Midsize 12,000 total studentbody. He met a lot of grad students as an undergrad. Good opportunities for undergrad assistantships to professors. He had worked at larger unversities where the undergrad and grad populations were more separate.

YMMV, all pionts. GL :sharebeer
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by ThatGuy »

This discussion & links may be worth passing on to your child.

In terms of grad school, the smartest people I knew in undergrad (a very well respected engineering school) went directly into industry for a hefty payout. It was middle of the road students that did graduate school (Masters and PhD) directly after undergrad. Now, of the few superstars that I kept up with, all of them got a graduate degree later on. This has really colored how I view certification and pedigree.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

ThatGuy wrote:This discussion & links may be worth passing on to your child.

In terms of grad school, the smartest people I knew in undergrad (a very well respected engineering school) went directly into industry for a hefty payout. It was middle of the road students that did graduate school (Masters and PhD) directly after undergrad. Now, of the few superstars that I kept up with, all of them got a graduate degree later on. This has really colored how I view certification and pedigree.

Thanks ThatGuy, for the link.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by jabberwockOG »

We had our youngest child apply to engineering dept at various top tier colleges last fall. His stats - 5.5 GPA on 4 scale at top tier HS, 14 AP classes, 35 ACT,800 SAT Math, 780 SAT Chemistry, National Merit Scholar, Eagle Scout, Honors Orchestra, Black Belt, plus amazing community service experience and other many accolades to specific to mention. Every parent wants to believe their kid is special. To our surprise he got rejected by Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Mudd, Duke, and wait listed Rice. The elite schools are much more difficult to get into than people realize. There is almost a lottery aspect to it. As an example in 2015, Stanford got 37,000 applicants for regular admission for their 2,100 openings, 750 of which were already filled with early Fall admits. The real openings are further reduced with incoming gifted athletes that have been recruited. If your kid has the extreme stats and performance to have a chance at an elite school my advice is to go all in and apply early admission so you at least have a slim chance of being accepted.
Last edited by jabberwockOG on Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:41 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

jabberwock wrote:We had our youngest child apply to engineering dept at various top tier colleges last fall. His stats - 5.5 GPA on 4 scale at top tier HS, 14 AP classes, 35 ACT,800 SAT Math, 780 SAT Chemistry, National Merit Scholar, Eagle Scout, Honors Orchestra, Black Belt, plus amazing community service experience and other many accolades to specific to mention. Every parent wants to believe their kid is special. To our surprise he got rejected by Stanford, Harvard, Mudd, Duke, and wait listed Rice. The elite schools are much more difficult to get into than people realize. There is almost a lottery aspect to it. As an example in 2015, Stanford got 37,000 applicants for regular admission for their 2,100 openings, 750 of which were already filled with early Fall admits. It worked out fine in the end as our kid got accepted into engineering honors program at a top tier state university with full tuition scholarship.
Thanks for sharing jabberwock. Sure understand the reality.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by mervinj7 »

TomatoTomahto wrote:First, great post!
The quoted sentence makes me wonder how much information the interviewer is given about the candidate. Do you just get their overall preliminary ranking, do you get any notes, is there any direction on what to drill down on, etc?

An area that I'm curious about for the Ivies (who by rule don't give athletic scholarships) is how/whether the interviewing of recruited athletes is different from "normal" applicants. Are they interviewed only by the coaches or do you guys also interview?
Thanks! We are given very little information from the AO. All we officially receive is the name, gender, school, and potential major. Our particular club also asks students to fill out and email a pre-interview questionnaire to the local interview coordinator. Questions include SAT scores, GPA, class rank, intellectual interests, specific questions for the interviewer, and finally any topics they want to discuss. In some cases, we've had students who wanted to explain extenuating circumstances (e.g. a close relative passed away) if their grades slipped for just one semester. The questionnaire helps us focus the interview since our time is limited.
As far as recruited athletes are concerned, there is no prior indication before the interview other than what students fill out.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by SmileyFace »

If you aren't willing/able to foot the bill for a reach/ivy-league college nor are eligible for financial aid then I would discourage him from applying.
For a "reach" college: Expect 0 Merit-Based Aid.
For an "ivy league" college: Expect 0 Merit-Based Aid (they get enough students/parents willing to pay full tuition they need not give any out).
For a college in your son's range: Expect 0 or modest merit-based aid.
For a college that is just below your son's academic range: you CAN expect some merit-based aid.

Here is a great book explaining how the system works:
http://www.amazon.com/College-Solution- ... e+Solution
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by itstoomuch »

Again our experience is 10+ years old.
Private schools have a caliber of students who can graduate easily in 4 years. At their tuition , you wouldn't want to pay an extra year.
Privates are more multiculture in nationality, US geographically, and ethnically.
Public schools have a different model.

Privates have their own criteria for credit qualification.

at DS's private eng. school, 1/3 of his class was able to double major and graduate in 4 years.
IIRC:
1/3 of the class stayed on for a 5th year Masters.
1/3rd went into work force.
1/3rd went to grad school somewhere else and in something else.
(DS had a double major, 3.70 gpa. He went on to grad school on a fullride.
Somewhere in CollegeConfidential there is a compilation of student outcomes-Very informative.

Be socialable. Do some club/EC work while in college.
NETWORK.
YMMV
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

DaftInvestor wrote:If you aren't willing/able to foot the bill for a reach/ivy-league college nor are eligible for financial aid then I would discourage him from applying.
For a "reach" college: Expect 0 Merit-Based Aid.
For an "ivy league" college: Expect 0 Merit-Based Aid (they get enough students/parents willing to pay full tuition they need not give any out).
For a college in your son's range: Expect 0 or modest merit-based aid.
For a college that is just below your son's academic range: you CAN expect some merit-based aid.

Here is a great book explaining how the system works:
http://www.amazon.com/College-Solution- ... e+Solution
Thanks for sharing.

I agree on the Merit-Based Aid that DS will get 0 Merit-Based Aid at his range schools and a good scholarship for a school, below his academic range.

Just entering the numbers at Yale Nett Price Calculator for our scenario:
The calculator generates a sample financial aid award based on your financial information and Yale’s current aid policies.

http://admissions.yale.edu/yale-net-price-calculator

We are better off ( ~20% Cheaper ! ) going to Yale, the calculator states that we can get around 50% financial aid, rather than the our premium state school. :dollar :moneybag :D As per the calculator the cost of attendance per year will be around $30 K

Still all the other discussions such as competition, lottery, etc stays the same. Admissions comes first before we talk $$$.

Let DS apply, we can have $$$ discussions in January / February, once we have some concrete admissions and dollar figures to compare :)
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

DaftInvestor wrote:If you aren't willing/able to foot the bill for a reach/ivy-league college nor are eligible for financial aid then I would discourage him from applying.
For a "reach" college: Expect 0 Merit-Based Aid.
For an "ivy league" college: Expect 0 Merit-Based Aid (they get enough students/parents willing to pay full tuition they need not give any out).
For a college in your son's range: Expect 0 or modest merit-based aid.
For a college that is just below your son's academic range: you CAN expect some merit-based aid.

Here is a great book explaining how the system works:
http://www.amazon.com/College-Solution- ... e+Solution

Thanks for sharing.

I agree on the Merit-Based Aid that DS will get 0 Merit-Based Aid at his range schools and a good scholarship for a school, below his academic range.

Just entering the numbers at Yale Nett Price Calculator for our scenario:
The calculator generates a sample financial aid award based on your financial information and Yale’s current aid policies.

http://admissions.yale.edu/yale-net-price-calculator

We are better off ( ~20% Cheaper ! ) going to Yale, rather than the our premium state school. :dollar :moneybag :D

Still all the other discussions such as competition, lottery, etc stays the same. Admissions comes first before we talk $$$.

Let DS apply, we can have $$$ discussions in January / February, once we have some concrete admissions and dollar figures to compare :)
Last edited by LiveSimple on Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by mervinj7 »

DaftInvestor wrote:If you aren't willing/able to foot the bill for a reach/ivy-league college nor are eligible for financial aid then I would discourage him from applying.
For a "reach" college: Expect 0 Merit-Based Aid.
For an "ivy league" college: Expect 0 Merit-Based Aid (they get enough students/parents willing to pay full tuition they need not give any out).
For a college in your son's range: Expect 0 or modest merit-based aid.
For a college that is just below your son's academic range: you CAN expect some merit-based aid.

Here is a great book explaining how the system works:
http://www.amazon.com/College-Solution- ... e+Solution
I don't know about other schools, but some ivies provide a fairly generous financial aid package (no merit based aid, though). For a middle-class family ($60k-$180k), out of pockets expenses can often be lower than a state school that only offers financial aid for families that make below $60k.
https://college.harvard.edu/financial-a ... calculator

I ran some quick numbers using the calculator above. Here are the out-of-pocket costs for a household of size 4, with 1 kid in college, 100k in non-retirement investments, and no additional real estate equity. Note, home equity doesn't count and retirement accounts (401k, IRAs) are not included in the calculations. Also, these costs INCLUDE tuition, room and board, personal expenses, and travel costs. When you are comparing financial aid packages from multiple schools, please be sure to include these!

Income -> Net Cost/year
$60k -> $4600
$80k -> $7000
$100k -> $9600
$120k -> $13,000
$140k - > $17,200
$160k -> $24,600
$180k -> $37,300
$200k -> $53,800

BTW, I just realized increased financial aid for your college-age kids is another great reason to use tax-deferred accounts!
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

mervinj7, thanks for showing the net tcost of attendance. It helps
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

mervinj7, thanks for showing the net cost of attendance. It helps

However not getting much financial aid at Harvard; Yale is better !
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by reddityeah »

.....
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

reddityeah wrote:check out the mcdermott scholars program at utdallas. people turn down top schools to be a part of that program. everything paid for. $1200 stipend a month. many go on to top grad schools
Thanks reddityeah, sure I will ask my DS to apply. Quite interesting program.
This type of information is very helpful.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by virgingorda »

Have you visited the forums at talk.collegeconfidential.com? I would start reading there. Questions like yours get asked all the time. Go to the Parents Forum. http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum There's also a regular Q&A section called "Ask the Dean" http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/ask-dean-topics/

To me it sounds like your son is ahead of the game in that he is invested in the process. There are many excellent students who even at this stage still have to be prodded a bit. That to me says he is truly a top candidate. (But still, with admissions at top schools running at 5-10% of applicants, most of whom have the right stats, you have to hedge your bets.)
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by pennywise »

Respectfully, in any college admission conversation it is wise to completely disregard what people experienced X (x=>10 years ago) when they/their offspring applied to college. I am a career advisor at a top 50 research university and the reality today is what others have said: the competition for 'bumper sticker' schools (ie that lovely Harvard/Yale/Princeton/MIT etc decal on the bumper of proudmomdad's vehicle) is insane. Reading the OP's list of his/her child's stats, I can say already that he is not going to be particularly competitive for any of those places. And what were once safety schools 10+ years ago are now insanely competitive as well.

So go ahead and apply to all the Ivies and top name STEM places, but please also apply to schools that are realistic. And by realistic I mean schools that on first glance are far below what proud parent thinks junior is capable of being qualified to attend.

Also for the sake of reality please realize that the tales of "so I just sent my application to Harvard and got in" are in the very distant rear view mirror. No offense but what you needed to get into college in the 70s or 80s is not going to get you into most state schools today :wink:
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by virgingorda »

pennywise wrote:Respectfully, in any college admission conversation it is wise to completely disregard what people experienced X (x=>10 years ago) when they/their offspring applied to college. I am a career advisor at a top 50 research university and the reality today is what others have said: the competition for 'bumper sticker' schools (ie that lovely Harvard/Yale/Princeton/MIT etc decal on the bumper of proudmomdad's vehicle) is insane.
pennywise is on the money. It really has changed fast. My son goes to a school ranked approximately 15th. They admitted 34% of applicants in 2006 and 12% in 2015.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by jabberwockOG »

pennywise wrote:Respectfully, in any college admission conversation it is wise to completely disregard what people experienced X (x=>10 years ago) when they/their offspring applied to college. I am a career advisor at a top 50 research university and the reality today is what others have said: the competition for 'bumper sticker' schools (ie that lovely Harvard/Yale/Princeton/MIT etc decal on the bumper of proudmomdad's vehicle) is insane. Reading the OP's list of his/her child's stats, I can say already that he is not going to be particularly competitive for any of those places. And what were once safety schools 10+ years ago are now insanely competitive as well.

So go ahead and apply to all the Ivies and top name STEM places, but please also apply to schools that are realistic. And by realistic I mean schools that on first glance are far below what proud parent thinks junior is capable of being qualified to attend.

Also for the sake of reality please realize that the tales of "so I just sent my application to Harvard and got in" are in the very distant rear view mirror. No offense but what you needed to get into college in the 70s or 80s is not going to get you into most state schools today :wink:


100% correct. As an example in 2015 due to larger number of applicants UT Austin only accepted kids who were in the top 7% of their HS class in Texas. That means in a HS class of 300 only 21 are eligible for admission at UT Austin. And that criteria only gets you general UT admission. Getting into one of UT engineering programs is much more difficult and highly selective.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

pennywise wrote:Reading the OP's list of his/her child's stats, I can say already that he is not going to be particularly competitive for any of those places. And what were once safety schools 10+ years ago are now insanely competitive as well.

So go ahead and apply to all the Ivies and top name STEM places, but please also apply to schools that are realistic. And by realistic I mean schools that on first glance are far below what proud parent thinks junior is capable of being qualified to attend.
100% agree penny wise, that is why this discussion started.
We understand the DS stats are not that great.
Unless the lottery is favor to DS for Ivies and top name STEM places, some reason, we do not know.

Or we go to realistic schools with a better financial aid.

See both ways a WIN / WIN. :D

Nothing like, we have to make it :D

Also we have some perspective, where these kind of kids end up career wise.

What we are interested is to compile the 25 colleges we think, we should consider to apply.
That will include, top name STEM places and realistic STEM places.

Then narrow down to 5 -10 depending on where we think we stand.

For sure, do not want to "reapply" in spring for a new set of colleges.

Any help appreciated. We are doing our research as well, but good to know the "Hidden Gems" at this stage of compiling the list.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by Tycoon »

LiveSimple wrote:
What we are interested is to compile the 25 colleges we think, we should consider to apply.
In my humble opinion a list of 25 is 17 too many. Six to eight should be enough.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

Tycoon wrote:
LiveSimple wrote:
What we are interested is to compile the 25 colleges we think, we should consider to apply.
In my humble opinion a list of 25 is 17 too many. Six to eight should be enough.
Thanks and Agreed, I stated "Then narrow down to 5 -10 depending on where we think we stand. "

5 - 10 considerations to apply, If it was not clear in the earlier post.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by R2 »

Not much to add relative to the admissions discussion, other than anecdotal information is almost useless because of the wide range of difference in student characteristics, university preference, and (in my experience) a huge range of university responses for the same student.

I do agree with previous posters that you and your spouse need to agree upon and communicate financial commitment early in the process.

The amount we committed to our children was a fixed amount, and they had to make up any gap and will collect anything left over. Decisions may differ, depending on who pays. My son opted for a school that was $50K less for his undergraduate degree.

This website may be interesting: http://costoflearning.com/. It gives a sense of the school's expected financial contribution, by EFC. I wouldn't exclude any schools based on this information, for reasons I mentioned earlier.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by WhyNotUs »

My inputs to daughters were:
1.) we need to visit school/community in person to see if you can thrive in that environment before acceptance
2.) I will pay cost of in-state tuition/room and board. Anything beyond that you will need to help figure out
3.) Need to calculate costs with annual increases, which at that time were about 6% per year
4.) Graduating with more than $10k in debt is a bad idea (daughters are creatives and do-gooders rather than techie/tycoons)

Both went to private liberal arts schools. When I went to the first parent orientation the admissions people were preparing parents for students taking 5 years to graduate! In response to that, I came up with a #5

5.) If you graduate early, I will give you 50% of whatever you saved me to travel. One daughter graduated a semester early and went to South America to and one a year early and went backpacking in Europe. Both life changing experiences.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by psteinx »

While I think that highly selective colleges HAVE gotten harder to get into, there's another factor at play as well.

With the common app and the relative ease (I assume - haven't been through it yet) of applying to so many different places online, kids are applying to more schools than before.

Consider a class with 10 gifted kids in it. Four of them are very strong (admissions-wise), 3 just strong, and 3 great, but not Ivy league-great.

Twenty years ago, the top four apply to perhaps 2-3 Ivy-caliber schools each, the other six kids aim lower. Of the top four, 2 of them get an Ivy admission.

Now, the top four apply to perhaps 4-6 Ivy-caliber schools each, the next 3 kids each apply to 1-2 Ivies (as a reach), and even one or two of the bottom 3 who are unrealistic for Ivies apply to Harvard or Yale (to make mom or dad happy) in addition to their more standard applications. The Ivies, in turn, offer 2 admissions to the group (same as before). But those 2 admissions were against perhaps 3 times as many total applications from the group, meaning the Ivy admit rate (per application) is MUCH lower. It LOOKS much harder to get into an Ivy, but the reality is not so different from 20 years earlier.

Yeah, it's a contrived scenario. And in fact, I think Ivies and the like ARE harder to get into (even adjusting for the scenario I've described), because of a broader pool of applicants, and also probably because of "admissions" inflation due to savvier kids, parents, and high schools taking various measures to look better for colleges. But at the end of the day, there are still kids getting into these schools. (And of course, many getting into schools that are 1, 2, or 3 notches down from the very top, but still very good schools offering a solid education.)
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

thanks psteinx and whatnotus
for sharing.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Another factor in the change in admissions is the number of international students. For Yale,
1987 - 2%
2000 - 7%
2015 - 19%.

To be clear, this is not intended to be xenophobic, and IMO it improves the education for all, but it does cut down on the number of available seats for US applicants.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

TomatoTomahto wrote:Another factor in the change in admissions is the number of international students. For Yale,
1987 - 2%
2000 - 7%
2015 - 19%.

To be clear, this is not intended to be xenophobic, and IMO it improves the education for all, but it does cut down on the number of available seats for US applicants.
Hearsay that most of the technical graduate programs in engineering are dominated by international students.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by pennywise »

TomatoTomahto wrote:Another factor in the change in admissions is the number of international students. For Yale,
1987 - 2%
2000 - 7%
2015 - 19%.

To be clear, this is not intended to be xenophobic, and IMO it improves the education for all, but it does cut down on the number of available seats for US applicants.
Not everyone may be aware that the overwhelming number of undergraduate international students are not eligible for ANY financial aid so universities consider this population a very high yield cash source. Actually, not only are they not getting aid, they are often paying sticker price per credit, again something most US students, at least those with savvy advisors or parents, manage to avoid.

For many schools the international student population revenues are fast becoming necessary for their balance sheets.

And as has been mentioned, the common application has enabled students to apply to exponentially more schools. This too is part of how higher education has changed in that those ubiquitous university rankings are in part based on the yield which is the ratio of accepted/applicants. The more people apply for a finite number of spaces in the freshman class the better (ie lower percentage) the yield numbers become and the more competitive the school looks. The higher education business has quite a few of such tricks up our collective sleeve :wink: .
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by beyou »

I am in both your shoes (looking now for a HS senior) but also this is my 2nd time around.

I question why you son is going to try the ACT one more time, with a 34.
Very few get higher and it does not matter at all if he did.
My eldest is attending an Ivy, and the admissions officer specifically told us
they do have a testing threshold to be considered, but once over the threshold they
simply do not rank candidates by SAT/ACT scores.

That said engineering schools that are tops want to see high SAT Subject Math 2 scores.
My younger child was ill when he took it, and since he wants to major in ENG, he will retake.
Some will just take ACT with high math scores but other want the SAT subject anyways.

As far as the age old debate of taking merit at a lower tier vs pay full ride at a top school,
my 2 cents. Know your child and budget. Some kids like to be the # 1 student and get involved in a great
deal beyond class, and that can be difficult at MIT. Some kids simply are not motivated being
the smartest in their class. Both of my kids fell into the later category, and in fact my eldest
transferred from a full free tuition state school to an expensive but more elite private school.
My youngest is looking at reach schools where he would have a tougher time keeping up,
and some where he would be in the middle of the pack, but very unmotivated to go the full free ride
route if that means being surrounded by others who are not motivated or do not push him to challenge himself.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by beyou »

One more specific, is in regards to HONORS PROGRAMS.
My eldest applied and go into various honors programs at the less competitive of the
schools he applied. The problem is they had few honors classes (subjects and sections
of even the subjects where they did have honors). So honors classes were either offered
and sometimes full, or not offered at all in most subjects. You have to be OK
with the regular classes, as that is most of your classroom experience.

He had some great teachers in non-honors classes, and sometimes peers don't matter as much,
but sometimes they do. English composition was an example. He was unable to get the
honors section. They have kids edit each other's essays as part of the learning experience.
My son's partners would shrug and say "it looks fine". No critical feedback.

Honors programs can have some excellent perks, but it's more or less a marketing tactic to get smart kids
to attend less competitive schools (than they qualify for), for the most part.
The perks are not as good as advertised, sometimes, beware.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by LiveSimple »

blevine wrote:
As far as the age old debate of taking merit at a lower tier vs pay full ride at a top school,
my 2 cents. Know your child and budget.
Thanks blevine, your experiences sounds more similar to our situation.

Yes, we are looking to make sure, to make a good fit for the child and budget.

I think with all the input and what we were planning, we have a plan to execute and be satisfied and happy of the outcome. :D

Any input for any specific programs are still appreciated.
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Re: College Admission Time, What parents need to be aware and how to be helpful

Post by Matahari »

(1) Essays: They've been mentioned in a couple of the posts, but ESSAYs. Once your student is past a certain threshold for grades and tests scores, consider what makes your student "come alive" through a very few pages of paper, so to speak.

If your student has not yet done so, have him start his essays these last couple of weeks of summer. Edit and revise, yet have his voice speak loudly and clearly. Outside of the GPA, standard tests scores and litany of ECs, there is nothing to make the applicant come alive to the Ad Comm more so than through his essays and letters of recommendation.

The more selective schools, in particular, will have supplemental essays to the Comm App and often the hardest to make personal is the "Why the school" essay. No Ad Comm wants to read the same "Why the school" essay that is a rewording of their own university's website.

(2) Deadlines: Help your applicant put together a schedule of all the deadlines: Early Decision, (Single Choice) Early Action, Restrictive Early Action and Regular Decision. Figure out which each school offers. Understand the significance and impact of each.

You know your applicant's management skills, especially in light of the extra demands during the busy senior Fall semester. If necessary, oversee the deadlines for the various related parts that are required to complete each school's application. It would be unfortunate to fall short because of a mailing deadline for LoRs (for instance) after all the work that has gone into building the application through school work and testing.
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